Thanks to Bryson DeChambeau, it was a show the world of long drives had never seen before and might not try again.
Despite the odds as he was up against players with odd swings and ball speeds of up to 230 mph, DeChambeau nearly secured a win on Saturday that he might have coveted as the US Open title. The man who led the latest PGA Tour driving distance chase this year to LIV Golf has reached the long-running two-man PGA World Championship final. Incredibly, he came within one swing and 20 yards from carrying his flashy WWF-style title belt.
Going head-to-head in the final against Germany’s Martin Burgmer in Mesquite, Nevada, after the field was reduced from 16 to two on Saturday, Deschamps found the net with three of his six engines assigned to him and topped out at 406 yards. But Burmeyer, whose bushy beard and extremely short, kinky shorts made him ideal for professional wrestling, pounded his third ball 415 yards and followed up with a 426 yard that proved the winner.
In the dull desert light, Burgmeier Bear’s impulsive Dechambeau kissed the belt and raised it high while running a winding victory lap around the driving range. He kissed and hugged his wife and young son, then took the microphone and pointed at DeChambeau.
“There’s something very important, and you all know,” Bormayer said. “I wouldn’t be here, none of us would be here with the improvements in technology, if there wasn’t a single guy a year ago to make the sport what it is now. And I think he’s on his way back. And that guy is Bryson Deschamps.”
Bohrmaier added, now exclaiming, “He also came in second! What’s going on! This guy is a professional golfer and he’s putting up these ball speed numbers…He lights it up in the final, hitting the 400-plus! Nobody’s done that before! Not realizing People how crazy this is!”
DeChambeau, who then did not speak on the YouTube broadcast that carried the event, smiled and nodded in appreciation to Borgmeier.
It’s been a year since DeChambeau entered the PLDA World Championship in what seemed like a sideshow. But then he made it to the last eight and finished seventh – out of play in the Ryder Cup – and it wasn’t a joke anymore.
This year, DeChambeau returned to Mesquite after a somewhat turbulent year that started on the PGA Tour and ended after taking massive guaranteed money to drift into the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV circuit.
Apparently DeChambeau didn’t care about the $50,000 first prize on the long ride. It was about bragging rights.
There were 128 riders starting this week in the open section, and DeChambeau easily made it into the top 32 in the points-granting round-robin competition where golfers finish in each session.
DeChambeau got down to his last ball to qualify for the Round of 16 and then finished fifth among the final eight led by 415 yards. Among those who couldn’t make it this far was two-time defending champion Kyle Berkshire, who finished ninth on his return from hand surgery just over three weeks ago.
There are still some of the sport’s biggest names left, including last year’s runners-up Justin James and Zach Holton, who crushed the longest driving distance for a day of 435 yards in the round of 16. DeChambeau ended up against these three in the final. Four, and when he hit 407 in the semi-finals, he got a shot at Boermayer, who advanced with a 418 effort.